ROCKPORT – Knox County Food Council invites the public to a virtual gathering Tuesday, Feb. 8 to learn about an ongoing collaboration among a land trust, gleaning group, and hospital, to increase food security in Midcoast Maine. The presentation will feature farm manager Aaron Englander and the Teen Ag Crew at Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Erickson Fields Preserve; Lorain Francis, program director of Penquis Community Action Program and coordinator of the Knox County Gleaners; and Deidre Dority, Let’s Go! program coordinator for Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital.

MCHT’s Teen Ag Crew annually raises and harvests more than 20,000 pounds of vegetables in their 4-acre garden at Erickson Fields (164 West St, Rockport) for hunger relief agencies, public school lunches, a retirement community, and local businesses. Through Mainers Feeding Mainers, a Good Shepherd Food Bank program, over 80% of the produce raised supplies food pantries.

Knox County Gleaners sort produce at Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. Photo courtesy of Maine Coast Heritage Trust

With the help of Knox County Gleaners, a volunteer group that gleans produce from farms to distribute to those in need, the teens distributed 22,442 pounds of their 2021 harvest to eight pantries and six share tables in Knox and Lincoln counties, including free farm stands at Pen Bay Medical Center and MCHT’s Aldermere Farm in Rockport.

This Free Farm Stand is located at Pen Bay Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Deidre Dority.

The presentation will begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A with the presenters from 5:30 to 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend and may receive the Zoom meeting information by registering online at aldermere.org/kcfc or emailing aldermere@mcht.org.

The 2021 Summer Teen Ag Crew display the “fruits” of their labors, from left, Cole Thompson, Teen Ag intern; Aaron Englander; MCHT farm manager; Curtis Bibber, Teen Ag intern; Julie Wheaton, volunteer; Bob White, volunteer; Scarlet Labbe-Watson, Teen Ag intern; Lea Jean Francois (MCHT food & land access intern; Zhenya Mikha, Teen Ag intern and Myah Espinosa, Teen Ag intern.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Knox County Gleaners, Pen Bay Medical Center, and Good Shepherd Food Bank are members of Knox County Food Council, a cohort of Knox County partners advocating for a community-based healthy food system for all. The Council hosts public Zoom meetings from 5 to 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit aldermere.org/kcfc.